Jutta Benzenberg @ FOTOHOF

Jutta Benzenberg, from the series: “30 days”, Albania 2013

Jutta Benzenberg: 30 days
April 28 – June 3, 2017

Opening: April 27, 19:00

“At the general election in 2013 Jutta Benzenberg accompanied the challenger Edi Rama for 30 days at campaign events in Albania and photographed. The result is no reportage of the election campaign, but a striking portrait of people in a marked mass rallies and pathos time. Jutta Benzenberg succeeds in this exhibition the people of their individuality and uniqueness and to show the same time as a participant in emotionally charged events.”

FOTOHOF / Inge-Morath-Platz 1-3 / 5020 Salzburg / Austria

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David LaChapelle @ Ballarat International Foto Biennale

David LaChapelle
19 August – 17 September 2017

“Ballarat International Foto Biennale is a month-long celebration of international and Australian photography from 19 August – 17 September set in the historic surrounds of Ballarat. The festival is a platform for world-class photographic arts, comprising a core program of major exhibitions, a fringe program for emerging and established photographers, and an outdoor public program taking the arts to the streets of Ballarat, 24/7.”

Ballarat International Foto Biennale

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APRIL 29 – JUNE 4, 2017

“In 7439 D’Agostin invites us into a new look of the traditional coast to coast trip, with the aesthetic that has been distinguishing his photographic work through the past years. From the stunning proportions of Niagara Falls facing tourists in their pilgrimage to hear the roar of nature, to a solitary car driving towards the very last ray of light in the South, to the infinite layers of Earth’s evolutionary history of the American West.”

“In Confine, Vittoria Gerardi presents her perception of the Death Valley desert, the lowest, hottest and driest of North America. The dazzling light, therefore the incapability of seeing is portrayed by the photographer by selecting portions of black and white negatives, distilling fragments of the landscape and making them become symbolic lines between inconsistency and matter, almost as scars of light and time”


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Murray Fredericks @ Hamiltons Gallery

Murray Fredericks – Salt: Vanity
Friday 28th April – 14th June 2017

“Australian photographer Murray Fredericks’ long relationship with Lake Eyre, where his most recent series Vanity has been produced, commenced in 2003, and to date consists of twenty journeys to the centre of the lake where he photographs for weeks at a time in the vast and infinite landscape. Fredericks is not interested in documenting the literal forms of the landscape. He views the landscape as medium in itself which, when represented in a photograph, has the potential to convey the emotional quality of his experience and relationship to the lake.”

Hamiltons Gallery
13 Carlos Place
London W1K 2EU

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Book Review: waterforms by Dorothy Kerper Monnelly

“My photography depends on access to protected open spaces and would not be possible without it. It is the quiet, natural landscape that inspires and nurtures. Behind that experience is the dedication and advocacy of local and national conservation groups, along with all who value land protection and contribute in any way”, writes Dorothy Kerper Monnelly in the acknowledgements section of her “waterforms”

There are two major subjects that “waterforms” portrays: the forms and patterns that water creates on the land and the ice patterns that form in fresh water streams. Both are subjected to changes in temperature and powerful winter winds. “I quickly learned that to photograph ice patterns, the critical extra ingredient is warm clothes!”

Dorothy Kerper Monnelly also writes (in her artist’s statement) that “Fine Art Photgraphy is the language of the inner eye – the inner self that responds without knowing. It is an intuitive dialog that speaks as an image. It is a search for truth … for the song!”

“waterforms” starts with a series of pictures with captions such as “Ice Pattern 26, Ipswich, MA, 1/2016”, “Ice Pattern 25, Saco River, NH, 12/2014” or “Ice Pattern 13, Ipswich, MA, 1/2003”. Without knowing that I’m looking at ice patterns I would have very probably never guessed it. In other words, I’m glad I’m told that there are ice patterns in front of my eyes although the additional caption information is probably more of interest to the photographer (reminding her when and where the picture was taken) than to the reader.

What my eyes are seeing are intriguing shapes and forms that could have been drawn or painted. It is not obvious to me that these are photographs. There are however other pictures that are easily identifiable as photographs, even without the captions.

Yes, water does form the land indeed and in most fascinating ways. What these superb black and white photographs make me aware of is how creative, artistic and uncontrollable water is. What I get to see is an incredible and unpredictable variety of shapes and forms that my conscious self impossibly could have come up with. To me, these photographs demonstrate impressively that water follows its own ways. Sometimes we are able to identify what we see (Wet Meadow Grass, Sheffield, MA, 5/1993), sometimes we can only guess and, needless to say, some guesses might be more informed than others (Surf Carved Rock 1, Hole in the Wall Beach, Olympic National Park, WA, 8/1996).

“waterforms” is an invitation to contemplate the mystery of water. I do not feel tempted to analyse or interpret what my eyes are showing me. I simply enjoy the fabulous art that water has come up with. Just look and see!

To me, the real artist here is the water – and not the photographer. This is not intended to diminish the photographs. Quite the contrary, for without these photographs most of us would very probably never have seen such truly stunning scenes.

by Dorothy Kerper Monnelly

Published by Sector Photography
Verlag Kettler, Dortmund, Germany 2016

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Émilie Régnier @ The Bronx Documentary Center

Danielle Babou, Abidjan, 2014

Émilie Régnier: From Mobutu to Beyoncé
April 15 – June 4, 2017

Émilie, who grew up in Central Africa, has created a series of portraits exploring the symbolic power of leopard patterns and prints in Dakar, Kinshasa, Johannesburg, Paris and even a small town in Texas.

Bronx Documentary Center
614 Courtlandt Avenue (@ 151st St.) Bronx, New York 10451

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THOMAS ANNAN @ J. Paul Getty Museum, Getty Center

May 23 – August 13, 2017

“During the rise of industrialization in mid-19th century Scotland, Thomas Annan ranked as the preeminent photographer of Glasgow. For more than 25 years, he prodigiously recorded the people, the social landscape, and the built environment of the city during a period of rapid growth and change. Thomas Annan: Photographer of Glasgow, on view May 23-August 13, 2017 at the J. Paul Getty Museum, Getty Center, presents the first exhibition to survey Annan’s prolific career and legacy as both a photographer and printer via his engagement with Glasgow as his photographic subject.”

At the J. Paul Getty Museum, Getty Center
1200 Getty Center Drive, Los Angeles, California.

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Interview with photographer Chloe Aftel

Chloe Aftel – ejlandsman

GenderQueer – Intimate and Genuine

Gender is a current topic of discussion and debate – politically, and socially. A political debate wages on in several states to decide who should use which restroom based on their assigned gender at birth, versus the gender with each person identifies themselves. Time Magazine’s cover story for March 27, 2017 is ‘Beyond He or She’; how a new generation is defining how they relate and interact with the world. This ‘non-binary’ sense of self-awareness is not just something one might encounter in psychology or sociology studies; It is literally front page news.

Genderqueer, along with the alternate term nonbinary, are umbrella terms that address individuals who feel that the terms man and woman, or male and female, do not adequately describe the way they feel about their gender and/or the way they wish others to see them. Members of the genderqueer community generally try to distinguish themselves from people who call themselves transgender, because that term more closely relates to a different sense of self in a binary comparison. Generally, it means the individual identifies with a different binary gender than their gender assigned at birth.

For her series “Genderqueer,” Aftel photographed self-identified genderqueer individuals in their homes in an effort to explore a community that she says is too-often misunderstood. Aftel says that a few years ago, she and a friend were talking about the GenderQueer movement and she felt she wanted to explore it further on her own. Aftel feels her gender identity never fell neatly into one group or another, so she was curious what this discussion was grappling with.

She had shot three portraits in her project, when she was assigned to shoot Sasha Fleischman for an editorial piece in San Francisco Magazine. In the fall of 2013, Sasha was set on fire on an Oakland, California public bus because they (Sasha doesn’t use she or he as identifiers) wore a skirt with a men’s shirt. After this terrible event, more people were willing to be photographed and take a stand about the basic human rights that should be extended to any person regardless of gender identification. Aftel has photographed this evolving culture that consists of those living outside or in between the gender binary, refusing to define themselves as strictly male or female.

Chloe Aftel – rain


Cary Benbow (CB): Beyond your project statement, please talk about the idea behind your GenderQueer portfolio. Does it relate to other work of yours?

Chloe Aftel (CA): Gender, identity and sexuality have always been subjects I enjoy exploring. Pieces of that permeate all my projects, I don’t think people fit neatly into boxes, nor should they, so I want to see what that looks like in real life.

Chloe Aftel – micha

Chloe Aftel – emma

CB: It has been a few years since you first started this project, is this an ongoing series? How much do you add to this project on a regular basis?

CA: Yes, I am constantly shooting for this series, until it is close to comprehensive, 1-2 times a month at least. I’ve been working on it since 2012 and it’s been interesting watching how the movement has grown and in what directions. I’ve never had a project that has been completed quickly, sadly! When I begin these, it’s with the knowledge it takes years to do correctly.

Chloe Aftel – emily

CB: As a photographer, what obligation do you feel to the people in your photos?

CA: I think my job is to portray subjects honestly, whatever that means. It’s not about a message or my intent, it’s about letting people be themselves and finding a way to shoot that.

Chloe Aftel – viola

CB: What photographers or artists do you take inspiration from? How does it affect how you work?

CA: I love a lot of the dead and older people, Arbus and Eggleston are favorites, as well as Gordon Parks, and Avedon, but there are so many who are still alive and awesome, like Steven Meisel, Alison Scarpulla, Joe Szabo, Matt Eich…. I don’t know if I am often inspired. I think I just like the work. I like problems and mistakes.

CB: Do you see your work as a way of documenting your life experiences in a way, or commenting on them with intent?

CA: I don’t discuss intent, as i want people to take from them what they will. Hopefully the images have enough structure to stay something and enough room for the viewer to take away what they will.

Chloe Aftel – sarah

Chloe Aftel – amanda

Chloe Aftel – sasha

CB: Is the GenderQueer series specific to a certain place or community or would it be applicable to anyone who identifies as non-binary?

CA: The people in it are from all over the country, from rural Ohio, to Detroit, to Seattle, and a million other places. I hope this series speaks to people no matter where they live and how able they currently feel to be themselves.

Chloe Aftel – lux

CB: What compels you to make the images you create – for this project or otherwise?

CA: Oh man, I love taking pictures, I love making shit, I love making the technical change the visual. I also love making a living. I just don’t want the say the same tired crap that’s already been said. If i can do that, it’s very gratifying. I want to shoot a million different subjects, and I don’t want all the images to look homogenized, so it’s much less about adhering to a certain genre and much more about understanding a subject, if that makes sense.

Chloe Aftel – chris

CB: From the standpoint of a working professional, how do you decide to take on new projects? What type of balance do you try to make between editorial and commercial clients?

CA: I think you always have to do both. They do inform one another, but you need to eat and you need to do work that really pushes you. Once in a while, ad jobs do that, but the personal work is where you just have to figure it out. I think that’s what makes you better in all aspects of the job. You make mistakes and can take some joy in what they teach you.

Chloe Aftel – aiden

CB: What are you currently working on? Any new projects?

CA: Yes, many! One on what it means to be a woman now, another on portraits of artists and intellectuals, and a few more. It’s the best work to do aside from making a living.

Chloe Aftel – edie

CB: What advice would you give to someone who wants to take on projects like GenderQueer?

CA: To be patient, it takes a lot of time and learning to figure out how to best do it and there will ALWAYS be problems and challenges that come up. One has to stay the course and remain focused while being open to changing as one’s understanding of the project evolves.

To see more of Chloe Aftel’s work, visit: www.chloeaftel.com

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Boat-billed Flycatcher Megarynchus pitangua

APRIL 22 – MAY 30, 2017

“American fine art photographer Todd Forsgren photographs birds that have been caught in mist nets as part of scientific surveys and ornithological research. During this moment, the birds inhabit a fascinating conceptual space between our framework of ‘the bird in the bush and the bird in the hand.’ The captured creatures appear embarrassed, fearful, angry, and vulnerable. Forsgren photographs the birds in the fragile moments after they fly into the nets and just before the ornithologist removes them to be weighed and measured. After the bird becomes ‘known’ and the data are collected, it is then released back into the woods unharmed.”


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BOOK REVIEW: SHOT by Kathy Shorr

101 Survivors of Gun Violence in America

Many Americans are likely numbed by the sheer volume of information about gun violence. So much data, so many statistics, so many news stories, and on and on. It is far too easy to distance oneself from the personal impact of gun violence. All the numbers and infographics make the topic detached enough to look the other way. Kathy Shorr’s photographs permit us to look directly at the intensely human aspect of what happens in America each day. Gun violence has an incredible personal impact, and an after-effect that is irreversible. SHOT enables us to explore the dialogue about gun violence.

Shorr says the project is not meant to be polarizing, but rather to connect us to each other and how much we have in common; giving us the opportunity to begin to take an unbiased look at guns in American society. A number of the survivors in SHOT are responsible gun owners themselves. Shorr’s book is a poignant comment on America’s culture, gun culture, and contemporary portrait photography. The depiction of these people who have a violent act in common makes her series touching, and strengthening for this community of people whose lives are forever changed, but not limited by, their wounds.

Shorr states that the goal of SHOT is to focus attention on the survivors of gun violence – people who have been shot and survived the experience. From across the United States, survivors from different socioeconomic, political, ethnic, gender and age groups are the united faces of gun violence; 101 varied, relatable people who have gone through a life altering experience.

The majority of portraits are taken at the location of the shootings. This adds another dimension to SHOT as most of these locations are banal and “normal” places we all visit: shopping centers, places of entertainment, church, neighborhood streets, movie theaters, etc. Many of the shootings actually occur in the survivor’s homes. This gives the viewer another chance to connect or relate with the participants and to imagine just how close we all are to the possibility of this happening to someone we know.

The images Shorr shows us are not ones that simply document, or try to dramatize the violence, or even merely present portraits of smiling people who have transcended beyond a traumatic event. Her portraits transcend normal portraiture. The SHOT project focuses on the living whose lives have been forever changed by the emotional and physical trauma of gun violence. They are present in their portraits, words (survivors write a statement to accompany their photo) and are not able to be dismissed as statistics that have passed on but rather as a “force” to reckon with.


I am not a victim, but a survivor. Donzahelia Johnson

Everything is either an opportunity to grow or an obstacle to keep you from growing. You get to choose. Thérése D’Encarnacão

When I paged through SHOT, I found a number of the full two-page spread photographs to be visually and emotionally jarring. The viewer is looking right into the face of a person, but the fold of the book runs right down the middle of their face or head. Why would the photographer choose to place the crease of the book directly through the middle of a person’s portrait? Then it struck me, these people’s lives and identities are now defined as what happened before, and what happened after the violence that impacted them. Quite literally, as well as visually, their lives are divided, and their sense of self is divided. Some of the people Shorr photographed show their wounds, their artificial legs, their scars that run across their body. Their direct gaze into the camera allows us to connect with what they experienced and personalize their experience in some way.

Rayon, shot in the head and blinded by his friend. Liberty City, Miami, October 2002.

“So I got on my knees as he stood over me, I closed my eyes and I counted, One…two…three. I believed he would run. Instead, he pulled the trigger. I remember what it felt like. I remember my body flying backward and slamming into the ground”. Sara Cusimano

Seventeen-year-old Chloe Johnson was talking with friends on the street when a stray bullet hit her in the head. Kansas City, Missouri, 2013

Shorr’s photos of individuals lifting their shirts to reveal the scars from their wounds captures a touching, vulnerable gesture. Amid tattoos, wrinkles, stretch marks and exposed under garments are the lines and raised marks on their skin that trace where their bodies were repaired. The raised keloids, or scar tissue, create sculpture-like forms, lines and hash marks in a similar manner to the Japanese art of Kintsugi. The word Kintsugi means “golden rejoining,” a 15th-century metal art dedicated to the restoration of fine ceramic pottery. A mixture of gold and epoxy are artfully applied to the edges of the broken pottery. The shards are reconstructed and the result is a restored piece of pottery with gleaming gold fissures. In the case of this ancient art form, it’s about the power of transforming broken ceramic pottery into beautifully resurrected masterpieces.

While the original form of the vase has been destroyed, the essence of its beauty not only survives, it thrives. In other words, the transformation is not just about putting the pieces of one’s broken life back together, it’s about a total reinvention of self in which our shattered pieces are transformed into a beautiful, thriving masterpiece. By applying this metaphor to the individuals Shorr has photographed, we can find the deeper meaning behind her portraits. While these individuals may have been deeply hurt and may never want to revisit the pain of their experiences, by having the courage to do so they discover that even if they feel broken, they are collectively much more than each of their identities alone. Their lives are a “vessel of hope” that stands proud, strong and whole as survivors; and an example of the beauty and determination of the human spirit… cracks and all.

Kathy Shorr is a freelance photographer based in New York. Her work has been exhibited widely at such galleries as Howard Greenberg Gallery, NY, and Sariedo Gallery, NY. Her series, “Limousine,” was included in the prestigious Visa Pour L’Image, International Photo-Journaliosm Festival, in Perpignan, France. Her work has been published in Popular Photography, Newsweek, French Photo, Camera Austria, Photo Review, On Seeing, New York Observer, and The Village Voice. As a freelance educational consultant, Ms. Shorr works with diverse groups of all ages in helping to learn how to express themselves through the lens and screen arts.

To see more work by Kathy Shorr, visit her website at http://www.kathyshorr.com/. To purchase a copy of SHOT, please visit the project site at http://shotproject.org/

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